Damaging anything in a rental is never ideal. For most people moving from one rental to another, getting your deposit back in full is the goal.
Fixing a burnt carpet is possible, but it depends on how severe the burn marks are and what you’re prepared to do to make amends.
Burning your rental carpet and not fixing it can lose you your deposit, but it shouldn’t lose you all of your deposit. You should also never be asked to fund the full costs of replacing the carpet in a rental.
If you’ve burnt your rental carpet and don’t know what to do, we’re here to help. Here’s our guide on how to fix burnt carpet in a rental and what the rules are when it comes to landlords charging you for replacements.
Can Burnt Carpet Be Repaired?
Yes, a burnt carpet can be repaired, but how much work you need to do to fix it depends on how severe the burn marks are.
Most small burns, like cigarette burns or teacup rings, are easily fixed with sandpaper, a pair of scissors and a carpet brush. Larger, more severe burn marks often need to be replaced with a new patch of carpet that matches.
You can fix burn marks on a carpet yourself as a DIY for almost no cost. Or you can pay a professional carpet repair company to fix the carpet for you.
Before you spend too much money repairing a carpet in a rental, consider whether it’ll be worth the investment or if you’d be better off simply taking the deduction from your deposit.
Related article: What are the benefits of a Lifetime Deposit for renters?
Will I Lose My Deposit if I’ve Burnt Carpet in a Rental?
In short, yes, you can lose some of your deposit if you burn the carpet in a rental (and don’t fix it), but it depends on how severe the burn marks are.
Some normal wear and tear in a property is allowed, and landlords can’t charge you for this. This essentially means they can’t deduct from your deposit for things like the carpet wearing out or a few knocks on the wall.
But they can charge for damages. Burn marks on a carpet, particularly severe ones, can class as damage. So, the landlord can either charge you the cost of getting it repaired, or they can impose a “fair cost of replacement” charge.
However, no matter how severe the damage is, the landlord cannot charge you the full cost of replacing the carpet in a rental. This is because it wouldn’t be seen as fair, as it would mean you’re paying fully for something the landlord also benefits from (known as “for the betterment of the landlord”).
Here’s an example of how a landlord can calculate a fair cost if they were to replace the carpet due to the burn marks you created.
In the example above, even though the landlord will have to pay £500 to replace the carpet, you, as the tenant, will only be charged £100.
This is because the carpet was old and due for replacement soon anyway, which the landlord would’ve needed to pay for eventually had you not damaged it.
If the carpet was brand new when you moved in, you’d likely have a much higher amount deducted from your deposit.
Related article: How to get all your rent deposit back
How to Deal With Burnt Carpet in a Rental
Mistakes happen and if you’ve burnt the carpet in your rental, don’t worry.
There are two things you can do: try to repair it (which is easier than it sounds) or fess up to the landlord about the damages. Attempting to hide it is never a good idea.
Here’s how to deal with burnt carpet in a rental.
Option 1: Repair It
If you don’t want to lose your deposit, it’s best to do what you can to try and fix the burn marks. Usually, small burn marks, large patches or cigarette burns can be fixed with a bit of work.
You can either repair burn marks on the carpet yourself (using the how-to guides below) or you can hire a professional company to do the work for you.
Just ensure that by attempting to fix the burn marks yourself, you won’t be making things worse.
If you’re concerned about doing it wrong, perhaps ask your letting agent how severe the consequences will be if you don’t fix the issues before moving out.
This will give you an idea about whether it’s worth investing in repairing the carpet or simply leaving it for your landlord to sort.
Option 2: Fess Up to the Landlord & Potentially Lose Some Deposit
Trying to cover up the burn mark isn’t a good idea. Even if you hide it behind furniture, your landlord will likely find it eventually.
Hiding it from them is worse than just owning up to it. They’ll remember your dishonesty when it comes to giving you a reference in future (which isn’t a good thing!).
If you don’t want to repair the carpet yourself, fess up to the landlord about the damage.
Accidents happen, and being honest will keep you in their good books. It may even get you a discount on the cost of repairs (which we wouldn’t bank on happening, but, hey, there are some good landlords out there!).
Related article: How to check your rent deposit was protected.
How to Fix Burnt Carpet Without Replacing It
No matter how big or small the burn marks are on your rental carpet, you should be able to repair it relatively easily and cheaply.
Here’s how to fix burn marks in carpet without replacing it entirely.
How to Repair Small Burn Marks On Carpet
This method should work for small burn marks caused by:
- Curling irons
- Teacup rings
What you’ll need:
- Metal tongs
- Carpet cleaner and brush
- Low grit sandpaper
Here’s how to repair small burn marks on a carpet.
- Use a pair of tongs to soften the area
Work the tongs in different directions over the burn mark. This should soften up the area and loosen the stuck together parts of the burn.
- Spray carpet cleaner and brush
Spray generously and rub over the area in all directions using the carpet cleaner brush.
- Pat the area dry with a cloth
Gently dab the area to dry it slightly.
- Rub low grit sandpaper over the burn
If the area is still stuck together tightly, rub sandpaper over the burn to loosen it up even further.
- Use a pair of scissors to cut away any remaining burn marks
If any blackened bits of carpet remain, use scissors to cut them away.
- Brush the area again
Use the carpet cleaner brush to blend the trimmed fibres into the carpet. The burn mark should be almost entirely unnoticeable.
If the burn mark is still visible, follow the steps below.
What you’ll need:
- New patch of carpet or matching frayed edges
- Find a new patch of carpet
You can either take a frayed edge from your existing carpet or cut away a very small piece of carpet from somewhere unnoticeable, like an area in a cupboard that’s already fraying.
Or visit your local carpet store to find an offcut piece of material that matches the existing carpet in your rental.
Many carpet shops offer free samples, so you can often find an offcut free of charge.
- Trim the burn mark down even further
Use the scissors to cut the burn mark down, so it’s almost bald.
- Superglue the new patch of carpet to the burnt area
Trim the new patch of carpet or frayed edges down to size and remove the base. Superglue it to the burnt area. Let it dry fully.
- Brush over the new patch
Use the carpet cleaner brush to blend the new carpet into the existing carpet. The burn mark should no longer be visible.
How to Repair Large Burn Marks on Carpet
This method can be used to fix large burn marks on carpet caused by:
- Pots or pan rings
What you’ll need:
- New patch of matching carpet
- Stanley knife
- Carpet brush
- Use a Stanley knife to cut out the burnt patch of carpet entirely
Carefully cut away the entire patch of carpet, being careful not to cut into the underlay.
- Trim your new patch of carpet to size
Use the cut-out patch of carpet as a guide. It’s better to make the new insert slightly larger than the patch you’ve removed. Carefully use the Stanley knife to make the cut. Check it’s the right size by placing it in the carpet.
- Check the direction the carpet goes in
Place a sheet of paper over the carpet. Use your hand to rub a pencil horizontally over the paper in any direction. The paper should start moving along the carpet. The direction the paper moves in is the way the carpet flows. Repeat this for the new patch of carpet to see which direction you need to place it.
- Superglue the carpet
Apply the superglue to the cut-out section of carpet (not the patch you’re sticking down).
- Secure the patch of carpet
Gently place the new patch of carpet into the cut-out section. Make sure you’re placing it in the right direction. Placing it in the wrong direction will make the patch more noticeable. Let the glue dry.
- Blend it with a carpet brush
Once it’s dry, blend the new insert into the carpet using a carpet brush.
If the new patch of carpet has not successfully blended in (which can happen in very worn-out carpet), there is an additional step you can take.
- Use a carpet seaming iron to blend the patch
Seaming irons can be used to fully blend the new patch into your carpet.
To save money, see if you can borrow a seaming iron from someone you know. Or hire one from a DIY store instead of buying it new.
Remember, try not to spend too much money repairing burn marks on carpet in a rental. It may not be worth the money you’d lose from your deposit.
For example, if a seaming iron costs £100, but you’d only be charged £50 from your landlord for the burn mark, it may be better financially to just accept the deduction from your deposit.
Related article: How to check how much you paid for your rent deposit
Hey You! Are You Moving Rental?
Losing a deposit sucks, but so does paying for a new deposit when you haven’t got any of your old one back!
For the first time ever, you no longer need to save up for a deposit every time you move. If you already have a deposit protected in a deposit scheme, you can transfer it to your next property.
A Lifetime Deposit will help you keep hold of £1,200 on average, which we think is pretty neat.
We are on a mission to help more people move, so if you are moving soon, don’t forget your Lifetime Deposit!